What Does Pride Mean?

Let’s discuss the word, pride, and what it means to me and, perhaps you, as a writer. 

Cat hair on my keyboard, cat hair on my notebook, and there’s one attached to my computer screen. I write about people who struggle to be proud of who they are and I have a cat buddy. I am his pride family, and he is mine. 

Dickens sleeps most of the time I’m working, but when he visits, he leaves evidence, and he visits before lunch, supper, and bedtime. He assures me (his food giver) of his love by rubbing his head on me and, if rubbing doesn’t suffice, lying on my desk and whatever happens to be on my desk. If I haven’t slipped that keyboard away in time, he’s edited everything on the screen in one magnificent lie-down mess. 

My cat buddy Dickens lying on my computer keyboard and keeping me from writing.
You’re on my keyboard!

Doesn’t every writer need a writing buddy? Dickens is mine—named after Charles Dickens, of course. Though he grew into the descriptive noun.

Hemingway had a cat. I’m not comparing myself to Hemingway, merely stating that writers have their animal buddies—cats and dogs, maybe hamsters. Writing is solitary. You write alone, except for your characters.  

My novels are character driven.

Characters drive the action—by how they change and develop throughout the story.  There’s also plenty of history, politics, culture, and conflict, conflict that seethes within the character’s own mind and conflict between them and society. In all my novels I focus on what makes a person become strong and believe in his or herself. What crises must they go through to finally state with confidence, “This is me; this is who I am.” Without qualm or hesitation no matter who that person is: gay, bisexual, a person of color, or a woman in a man’s world. Or a Jew among Muslims. Or a Muslim among Christians.

We are all on this magnificent planet together in a vast, incomprehensible universe.  

I, an older woman, dared to write from the point of view of a bisexual young man.

I didn’t write for Pride Month; there was no such month when I began. I wrote this character primarily because of a dear young gay man I knew in childhood. 

I have not made a habit of asking for trouble. Most of my life I have been the inhibited, don’t-rock-the-boat person in the back seat of the bus. Not alongside persons of color, (this was the 50s) because there were none where I grew up in the hinterlands of Ohio, but with the other “wallflowers.” Other outsiders. I know what it is like not to be accepted. Having been abused and raised in a dysfunctional family, I know what it’s like to have to fight for every small step forward, for every win. For every: “I am okay, more than okay; I am survivor; I am strong.” 

Therefore, my adult life has been a series of dares.

Happy me with a pack soon my back on a mountain trail among flowers with a high rock cliff at my back and cerulean blue sky.

Daring to face whatever scares me. Be it climbing that cliff, backpacking alone, or taking trips to Alaska and Central America alone, I do it to prove to myself I can. Because I want the adventure and won’t let fear stop me from living my life to the fullest. And my characters speak to me that they must be written, regardless of what certain others may think or say. 

Nevertheless, I did the absolute best I could to make sure my main character was as true to reality as he could possibly be. This meant over ten years of research, including books about and by gay men, and books about and by persons of color, which was necessary in order to write true, deep point of view. Fortunately, a fabulous sensitivity reader, Drew Hubbard of Pride Reads, added additional suggestions to my final manuscript. Drew’s fabulous blog informs writers and all who care to read how to create more accurate lgbtq+ characters.

Though he hesitates at present, by the end of the series my mc will be proud of who he is. As will the other two main characters undergoing crises and growth. And all are accompanied by their four-legged buddies.

I prefer happy endings, though getting there will be rife with pitfalls and tragedy.  

It’s that time. That other pride is here letting me know it’s time for supper.

Do you have a four-legged buddy you can’t do without?

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2 responses to “What Does Pride Mean?”

  1. da-AL Avatar

    great topic!

    1. Karen Lynne Klink Avatar

      I’m gratified you think so!

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